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on 9 January 2006
"Around the World in 80 Days" is the book based on the TV travelogue that Michael Palin made for the BBC in 1988. This travelogue was such a success that it started a whole series of TV programs over the following years: "Pole to Pole", "Full Circle", "Hemingway Adventure", "Sahara" and "Himalaya".
The trip was intended to follow the route traveled by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's novel from 1872. The self-imposed rule was that airplane travel was not allowed so only trains, buses, ships and cars could be used. This was problematic for Michael Palin because in 1872 there were many passenger ship lines, while in 1988 there were almost none because of air travel. As a result he had to obtain passage on various cargo and container ships that normally don't accept passengers.
All of Michael Palin's travel books (and DVDs) share the same qualities. Mr. Palin's wit and charm and exuberance are evident, and he has a knack of meeting interesting people and getting involved in amusing situations wherever he goes.
This trip is, however, unlike the others in that there is a pre-defined route involving a lot of sea travel, and a "race against the clock" element because the trip must be completed in 80 days. The time limit provides a bit of excitement, especially when Michael Palin passes through Singapore 10 days behind the fictitious Phileas Fogg.
The large amount of sea travel is a negative aspect because it's limited how many interesting things can be done aboard a container ship, for example. In fact, a significant number of the 80 days are spent on board ships, and it gets rather boring.
Still, there are many interesting experiences reported and photographed from the various cities passed through, as well as the countryside. The cultural differences are amazing and Michael Palin reports on it all in a way that makes you feel like you're there with him.
The pictures are beautiful, even though they were not all taken by Basil Pao, who became Michael Palin's regular stills photographer on all of his later trips.
My only criticism is that I would have liked there to be some maps in the book so I could follow the trip more exactly.
The audio version of this book is read by Michael Palin himself, which is a plus. But beware: There are both abridged and unabridged versions of the audio book.
In summary, a great start for what became a great series of travel books and TV programs.
Rennie Petersen
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on 20 October 1999
Fabulous - the ideal travel guide for us armchair tourists !! Within the comfort of your own living - room/bedroom or commuting to and from work, you can safely navigate yourself literally around the world !! Mr Palin is the best travelling partner for your journey - guiding you around the complications of world travel & humour abounds,with his humourous annecdotes !! A true "must" for the bookshelf of any traveller/Palin fan !! I'm just off now to book myself a ticket on the next Dhou that leaves port -- fancy a journey Mr P ?
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on 6 October 2001
Michael Palin shares his experience of going around the world in 80 days, like the fictional character Philias Fogg, but he explains everything in an easier way. You can understand ever word, as he takes you through his exciting journey you know exactly how he feels & as an ex python there are some funny parts as well.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 November 2010
Before I witter on about Michael Palin and his adventures, I shall point out that this item is American (check out the dollar sign on the front of the packaging pic) and is NOT a standard size. The CD's are a standard size, but the packaging and box are NOT so do not think you can slot it onto any standard CD stand. It is larger and more unwieldy and sadly cardboard. I am purchasing a jewel case as we speak to rectify this.

That aside, there is nothing else that can fault this product. It has the music from the series, is well narrated by Michael Palin and rather than be a simple spoken diary, it has elements of acting in it as Michael tries to add voices and expressions of the people he has met on his travels.

If you have seen the series, then this ADDS to it as there are things he expands on in the audio book that are not in the series, descriptions, and comments on immodium that are downright hilarious!

Great to listen to in the car or just before bed, this cd is a perfect production all round and despite the silly packaging still gets five stars - it really IS that good!
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on 28 August 2009
Michael Palin Books What can i say they are a must have for the travell book lover.
They are funny and they show lifestyle's from all over the world.
Around The World In 80 Days is the first TV journey Palin made and also with the most suspense.
This book that comes with the TV show is beautiful, great pictures and stories
and the book itself is of high quality (paper,binding etc.)

J. van der Heijden
The Netherlands
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on 3 February 2015
I grew up with the pythons and their unique brand of humour. So when I first picked up this book I was uncertain about what to expect.
I must say that the mix of humour and humanity makes this a journey of epic proportions. For the first time in years I found myself unable to put the book down.
I would recommend this book to all.
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on 9 August 1999
The book could be described more accurately as a "transit tale" than a "travel tale." Palin describes the stress and boredom of trying to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days, so he has little time to comment on the world around him. But his lighthearted humour and intelligence have produced an enjoyable tale. But do not expect to laugh uproariously. Also, I recommend that you not read this book while travelling on your own adventure as I did. As I found myself escaping into Palin's descriptions of Saudi Arabia and India, I found myself disoriented as I raised my eyes to look at the exotic country through which I happened to be travelling. Better to escape with Palin while sitting at home on the couch than while living your own adventure.
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2008
Having read Pole to Pole &Full Circle (as well as watching various bits of his programs courtesy of the history channel!) I thought this particular one would be another case of Mr Palin using a tawdry, overly ambitious idea and not much enjoying the result.

However I was wrong! As this was supposedly his first expedition it has that wonderful virgin territory quality and has all the joy and very little of the occasional malaise of his later trips. The sheer happiness Michael finds in visiting India and China (which he'd never visited before) and his teasing, slightly mocking tone towards Phileas Fogg's own experiences make this book an absolute joy to read.

And the best thing? Because this was written when the author was predominantly a comic actor and not a travel writer, it has a wonderful humour to it that helps the trip seem a breeze.

My one criticism would have to be the latter part of the trip - in America. Although bits of it are fun, one gets the impression the author was out for camera shots at this point and had lost interest in new horizons. However, the train trip is interesting...

Anyhow, as an book for a holiday reading this is one of Palin's best combining both his skills as a comic and as a traveller in perfect balance. Oh and, if you like this, do try A Piano in the Pyrenees or Long Way Round.
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VINE VOICEon 8 November 2015
For some reason, I'd never watched any of Palin's travel adventures, or read the books that describe them. So, even though this book recounts a journey undertaken in 1989, this was my first encounter with it. Palin has an easy, engaging style, and an eye for humour, as one might expect. He makes witty observations of the places he visits and the people he meets. More notable, though, is the warm nature of the relationships he builds with some of the people who make his journey possible; ship and boat crews working in poor conditions and facing uncertain times. Moments of melancholy and reflection make this a fascinating read. Reading it in 2015, it is most interesting to reflect on how the world has changed since Palin made this trip; political, economic and techological changes, among others, render aspects of Palin's journey and reflections almost unrecognisable, yet at the same time, there are clear points of continuity, not least in Palin's reflections on human nature.
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on 21 January 2015
Great book that leaves you with wanderlust.
Over 25 years old now and comparing some of the cities Michael travels through with how they are today adds another level of interest to this already engaging book.
Also incredible to think he did this without a mobile phone or the internet!
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